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Risk of HIV remains high for gay Latin-X men, free resources for help in Jacksonville

The CAN Community Health Clinics in Jacksonville and Daytona offer free testing and a sliding scale for medications.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's not a death sentence, but the risk is high. The CDC says 1 in 4 gay Latin-X men will contract HIV. 

Dr. Mohammed Reza is bringing awareness to the resources available in Jacksonville for testing and affordable medicine. Reza is the medical director at the CAN Clinics in Jacksonville and Daytona. 

They offer free testing and affordable medicine for HIV patients. He says the stigma of talking about HIV and AIDS is helping perpetuate the spread.

“There’s a stigma in some communities and there’s also a cultural machismo which creates a reluctance to acknowledge the sensitivity and risky behaviors," Reza said. 

There's hope and plenty of resources locally. 

“It’s not the death sentence that it was in the 80s and 90s," Reza explains. "Nowadays we have very good medication to prevent the progression to AIDS which is a vert severe form where your immune system is a lot weaker.”

Reza says:

  • Get tested often. He suggests every 3 months if you have more than one sexual partner. Testing is free at the CAN Community Health Clinic.
  • If you are HIV positive, you can take a medicine called PrEP that will help keep the virus so low in your blood stream that you likely won’t be transmittable.
  • Reza will be enrolling people in a new HIV treatment trial in the next few months. Learn more at the CAN clinic about how to get involved.